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Honesty And Reputation In Othello

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Throughout Othello, the ideas of honesty and reputation are used as leverage, mostly for Iago to gain power. The advice Iago gives to adversaries is sound in their eyes, but he plays upon the naïve and trusting nature, especially with Cassio. Iago consistently refers to himself as things he is not unbeknownst to the other characters, and here alludes that he is honest. The characters believe his every word and believe him to be an honest man because he may have been seen as just that in the past. He’s using this idea to propel his ruthless plans. He begins his response to Cassio’s lament of the loss of his reputation with: “As I am an honest man” (2.3.243). The choice of these words could simply just mean “I could have sworn” or “honestly” as one would say as a nicety. However, Iago carefully chooses the sentence structure to reflect on his desire to be seen as honest. This is a version of dramatic irony as the…show more content…
Iago expresses this fact by saying “I thought you had received some bodily wound. There is more sense in that than in reputation” (2.3.243-4). He makes it seem as if he actually cares for Cassio when he clearly does not care for anyone’s well being and is trying to downplay Cassio’s demotion, but not for compassion for this man, just to entangle him further in his web of deception. Iago’s plan is to get Cassio demoted by getting him involved with Desdemona. However, it seems that once Cassio is legitimately wounded, he then rises above his previous status as Lieutenant to General, which puts “sense” into worrying about a “bodily wound”. Although it’s just not Cassio who is physically wounded when he’s promoted; everyone else suffers deeply from the consequences of Iago’s duplicitous behavior. His plan to destroy Cassio’s reputation is foiled by everyone giving into his thoughts, believing the epithet of “Honest Iago” to be
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